The Night that Was:
Both times that the Leafs had played the Bruins this season, they were beaten up physically and on the scoreboard. They were hoping to change that on Wednesday night, and things started well when Mikhail Grabovski scored his sixth of the season on the power play to open the scoring. Milan Lucic would tie it up with just five minutes left in the opening frame, sending it to the second. There, goals by David Kejci and Zdeno Chara would bookend Joffrey Lupul’s 12th of the season, giving Boston a 3-2 lead. Benoit Pouliot opened up the scoring in the third before Matt Frattin cut it to 4-3, but Lucic’s second of the game and Brad Marchand’s ninth put things out of reach, 6-3. Luke Schenn led the way in scoring for the Leafs with two assists, while Krejci (1g/2a), Lucic, Chara (1g/1a), and Nathan Horton (2 assists) all had multiple points for the Bruins. Both Jonas Gustavsson and Tim Thomas made 34 saves.
While he couldn’t do anything about it on the ice, Steve Yzerman was hoping his Tampa Bay Lightning could pull out a win in Detroit in his first visit back as GM of the Lightning. Pavel Datsyuk and Jonathan Ericsson scored in the first to put Detroit up 2-0, before Martin St. Louis and Steven Stamkos tied it up in the second. With things all square at two in the third, Tomas Holmstrom scored the go-ahead goal and Darren Helm added the insurance for a 4-2 win. Both Datsyuk and Ericsson had a goal and an assist while Stamkos’ goal was his 16th, moving him into a tie in the league goal-scoring lead. Jimmy Howard made 21 saves for the victory, his 14th of the season.
The Kids were at it again in Edmonton last night. 10 minutes into the first period between the Oilers and Wild, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored his 11th of the season to put the Oil up 1-0, and 5:10 into the second, Jordan Eberle scored his ninth (assisted by the Nuge) to put Edmonton up 2-0. Then, the comeback started for Minnesota. Devin Setoguchi scored his eighth to cut the lead to one, and Kyle Brodziak’s sixth came on the power play at 14:51 of the second to tie things at two. After a scoreless third and a four-shot overtime (three by Minnesota and one by Edmonton), things moved to a shootout. Jordan Eberle and Pierre-Marc Bouchard scored in the first round, Mikko Koivu scored in the second round and Sam Gagner tied it in the third, Shawn Horcoff and Dany Heatley traded goals in round five, before Kyle Brodziak won it in the sixth round. Both Eberle and Hopkins had one goal and one assist, while Nikolai Khabibulin made 27 saves and Niklas Backstrom stopped 28 shots.
In Anaheim, the Montreal Canadiens visited former Captain Saku Koivu and the Ducks, hoping to keep Anaheim down in the dumps. Things looked good when Andrei Kostitsyn scored his sixth off a one-timer early to give the Habs a 1-0 lead. Ryan Getzlaf would tie things up with just 20 seconds left in the first, before Devante Smith-Pelly slammed one home from the top of the crease for the only goal of the second. Corey Perry’s 11th made it 3-1 early in the third, before Niklas Hagman scored his first as a Duck into an empty net. Both Getzlaf and Perry (1g/2a) had three points while Jonas Hiller made 19 saves for the win.
The Rest of the Story
The Colorado Avalanche beat up on New Jersey yesterday 6-1. Semyon Varlamov had to make just 18 saves as Ryan O’Reilly had three points, Milan Hejduk had a goal and an assist, and Kyle Quincey had two helpers. Ilya Kovalchuk had the only goal for New Jersey and was a minus-four.
What’s on Tonight?
The matchup everyone is looking towards is Pittsburgh traveling to Washington, Crosby vs. Ovechkin. The New York Rangers visit Carolina, Winnipeg welcomes Phoenix, and Dallas hosts Ottawa. Columbus heads North to take on Calgary, Nashville squares off with Vancouver as Cory Schneider gets another start, Florida goes cross-country to Los Angeles, and Montreal continues their West Coast swing in San Jose.
The Injury Bug:
-The Flames will be without Mark Giordano after a hamstring injury two nights ago. Giordano suffered the injury awkwardly blocking a shot.
-It turns out Kris Letang may have a concussion. He’s been suffering some symptoms since getting hit by Max Pacioretty on Saturday.
-Mason Raymond will return to the Canucks’ lineup after recovering from the back injury he suffered in last year’s playoffs. Raymond was driven into the boards awkwardly and fractured a vertebra.
-Ryan Miller returned to practice for the Buffalo Sabres yesterday. Miller gave no indication as to when he’d be ready to return, but Lindy Ruff did mention that returning to the lineup this weekend would be a ‘best case scenario.’
News and Rumours Around the League:
-The biggest news last night was the fact that, after a win, the Anaheim Ducks fired Randy Carlyle and replaced him with…Bruce Boudreau. This rounds out a crazy week for Boudreau, and may be an exercise in getting his team going by Bob Murray, so that the trade rumours stopped.
-The Boston Bruins and David Krejci came to an agreement on a three-year extension worth $10.75 million. Krejci has 13 points in 20 games this season.
-Speaking of extensions, Victor Hedman signed a five-year contract extension with the Tampa Bay Lightning yesterday. The extension is worth $20-million.
The Overlooked Fantasy Line(s) of the Night:
Jonathan Ericsson and Ryan O’Reilly had nights to remember. Ericsson scored a goal and added an assist in Detroit’s win against Tampa, adding a plus-one rating. O’Reilly had a goal and two assists to go along with a plus-three in Colorado’s huge 6-1 win over New Jersey.
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